What are the Characteristics of Neglected Children and their Families?

There are two reports that provide the most comprehensive data on the characteristics of neglected children and their families. The first is the National Incidence Study-3 (NIS-3) (Sedlack & Broadhurst, 1996), which sampled 35 CPS agencies around the country and looked at both children served by CPS as well as children identified by community professionals as being in danger of harm due to abuse or neglect. The second report is Child Maltreatment 1999 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001), which is based on the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). NCANDS collects data from all CPS agencies in the United States regarding their services.

According to these two reports, boys and girls are neglected at approximately the same rates. Findings regarding the children's age, however, differed between the two studies. The NIS-3 reports that those children ages 6 and older suffer from neglect at higher rates than children 5 and under. Child Maltreatment 1999 reports that the rates of neglect are highest for children ages 0-3 and decrease as children get older.

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